Snow-wheeling is some of the most fun you can have with your off-road Jeep or truck when the digits drop and that white stuff starts to fall.
Of course like other types of off-roading, trail riding in the snow is different than any other type of driving you might do.
The key to having tons of fun and staying safe in your off-road truck at the same time is knowing the right way to handle snow-wheeling.
Using the right techniques with the right equipment, you can enjoy the snow just as much as you enjoy the mud in the summertime with the added bonus that it’s not as messy as mud!
Prepare Well - Your Truck and Yourself
Because cold weather wheeling presents different risks than off-roading in the summer, don't set out for a day playing in the snow without preparing your truck.
Give it a good inspection and make the changes necessary for cold-weather driving like the use of lower viscosity oil, windshield washer fluid that withstands lower temperature, and a battery that can withstand weather extremes.
Put on snow tires if you have them or pack tire chains as well as make sure you have essential emergency gear and equipment plus your recovery gear.
Once your truck is prepared, think about yourself by dressing for the weather and bringing along cold-weather survival gear that could save your life should you end up stranded overnight in the snow.
First aid supplies, food and water, blankets, waterproof clothing, and adequate cold weather camping supplies are also important.
Before you go, check the weather forecast to make sure you’re not heading out at a dangerous time especially if there area any winter storm warnings.
Understand Airing Down
Airing down your tires will give you the best traction on the snow just like it does in the mud and on the sand.
How much you want to air down your truck depends on the type of snow you’re driving on, how deep it is, and what’s underneath.
While airing down for snow is mostly the same as what is done on other surfaces, you can get better results airing down a little more or a little less depending on the snow and your off-roader.
Different Types of Snow Affects Snow Pack
Part of knowing how much to air down your tires is understanding the different types of snow and how they affect your traction.
Driving on powdery snow that doesn’t pack so much is significantly different than driving on heavy wet snow that packs more; dry snow is usually harder to get traction on, while the wet snow offers more traction.
Based on the snowpack where your trails are and your truck’s natural traction, you can decide how much to air down or even if you should use your set of snow chains.
You should also consider snow pack when deciding where to drive and what you want to attempt to do with your truck.
A lack of traction in loose powder can make traversing ascents and descents ;or driving rough rocky trails more dangerous.
Know Your Options for Getting Unstuck
Just like any other time you head out for some off-roading fun, have a plan for getting yourself unstuck if and when it happens.
Depending on the snow pack and where you actually get stuck, you may be able to rock your truck to get it out of snow or need to use other recovery methods like traction mats, winching, snatch recovery, or just plain digging.
Reduce your chance of getting stuck to begin with by staying alert to signs of soft ground and watching for objects on the trail that can cause damage to your truck if you unsuspectingly drive over them.
Know Effective Snow Driving
Because snow is more slippery than mud or sand, it’s easier to make your tires spin driving in it.
Maintain traction and reduce slipping by avoiding heavy use of your gas or brake pedals as they could cause your tires to break free from the surface.
Remember that you’ll need more distance to stop or start your truck with its steel bumpers and can spin very easily if you try to turn too abruptly.
Enjoy Four-Wheeling in Snow By Knowing How to Do It
Snow-wheeling in your truck can be an exciting time for all if you’re well-prepared and know how to best handle snow-covered trails.
Prevent problems that could ruin your day or result in a dangerous accident with your truck by preparing well and knowing how to get around in the snow.
Whether skimming through loose powder or trudging through deep piles of flakes, the best way to have fun snow-wheeling is by approaching it the right way!